Wisconsin state Sen. Glenn Grothman (left) with Gov. Scott Walker
What kind of mind pushes the repeal of Wisconsin's Equal Pay Enforcement Act? We know a fair amount about how Gov. Scott Walker, who signed the repeal into law as quietly as possible last week, thinks about workers' and women's rights. Then there's state Sen. Glenn Grothman, one of the legislators who pushed for repeal. Where Walker is all about just plain crushing any ability workers, be they women or men, have to determine their working conditions or fight injustice in their own lives, Grothman appears to be more your paternalist dinosaur who believes that false discrimination complaints are a far bigger problem than actual discrimination and that not only is a woman's place in the home under the thumb of her husband, that's the way women actually want it:
“Take a hypothetical husband and wife who are both lawyers,” he says. “But the husband is working 50 or 60 hours a week, going all out, making 200 grand a year. The woman takes time off, raises kids, is not go go go. Now they’re 50 years old. The husband is making 200 grand a year, the woman is making 40 grand a year. It wasn’t discrimination. There was a different sense of urgency in each person.”
He continues, “What you’ve got to look at, and Ann Coulter has looked at this, is you have to break it down by married and unmarried. Once you break it down by married and unmarried, the differential disappears.”
Confronted by Michelle Goldberg with data showing that this is absolutely incorrect, that women make less than men even after you control for a range of factors including marital status and number of children, and that this is the case one year out of college and 10 years out, like a good Republican, Grothman rejected the facts because he didn't like the organization that released them, and also objected that the data didn't take into consideration:
[...] "goals in life. You could argue that money is more important for men. I think a guy in their first job, maybe because they expect to be a breadwinner someday, may be a little more money-conscious. To attribute everything to a so-called bias in the workplace is just not true.”
Basically, Glenn Grothman has shut his eyes, jammed his fingers in his ears, and, over the sound of the verifiable facts about the wage gap and the voices of women who who are "only" disadvantaged in the workplace in the way the vast majority of women are and the voices of those who have been directly discriminated against, he's singing, "la la la, I can't hear you. Women don't want fair pay." Inside his mind, in the space he's managed to shut off from reality, single mothers don't exist. Lesbians don't exist. Families in which two incomes—full incomes, not one real income and one "isn't that cute, the little woman earns enough to pay for her own lipstick" income—are needed or wanted don't exist. Discrimination doesn't exist; just disgruntled former employees looking for revenge over being fired from the jobs they, as women, didn't need anyway.
Of course, in some corner of their minds people like Grothman know that's not really how the world works—and that's exactly why they're so determined to make sure it's possible to discriminate without facing consequences.